Someone once said ‘Life is a rollercoaster; you just have to enjoy the ride’. If my life was a rollercoaster, well it probably was a mix of Six Flags’ scariest one; tall as hell, fast as a Formula 1 and with an endless series of inversions.
As I sat in the Mercedes Sprinter limo-van that had been waiting for us once we landed at the airfield in Shreveport, I thought about the last couple of weeks. Was it only a few weeks ago that I landed in Louisiana, a bright eyed virgin Law School graduate ready to start working for her client? Flash-forward a couple of weeks later and I was in a relationship with said client, had moved in with him in a house he had built specifically for me and was now a new mother to a ten months old baby boy. Oh and let’s not forget the facts that I had uncovered an embezzlement within my client/live-in lover’s (boyfriend was quite juvenile when talking about a thousand years old Vampire) business, been attacked by and had killed a serial killer, been attacked again this time by a mythical Greek creature who seemed to have taken residence in Bon Temps, infiltrated a Vampire hate group and survived a bomb attack. Yep, my life was a rollercoaster and I sure was enjoying the ride… as scary as it was.
“Miss?” asked the driver. “The gate is closed…”
“The what?” I asked, not fully registering what he was asking me.
“The gate, Sook” answered Jason. “You need to enter the code…”
“Oh, yes… “
I unbuckled my seatbelt and opened the limo-van door.
“You know what? I’ll take Hunter and walk to the house. Jason, would you mind handling the unloading of the traveling coffins and set them in the living room? I need some air.”
I quickly took my son from his car seat and got out of the van. It was just after 1PM and the sun was at its brightest. Since the flight between Dallas and Shreveport was under an hour, we decided to leave before noon, allowing Gran, Jason and I to take a nap before the trip back. Hunter had fallen asleep in Eric’s arms before we started to pack and had only just waked up as we landed at the airfield.
“Come on, baby, let’s take a walk.”
I slowly made my way down the alley, enjoying Hunter squeals of delight at everything that surrounded us. This peacefulness of the moment was perfect, seeing the mess that was waiting for us I really needed it. Shortly after I officially moved in, Eric had given me a proper tour of the grounds surrounding the house. Under the moonlight it had been quite romantic, but today under the warm rays of sunlight, the light breeze blowing in my air and my son’s baby babbles it was magical.
“You know when your daddy built this house he didn’t plan on us having a baby… Maybe we should put a swing set and a sand box in the backyard… What do you think, doodle bug? Should we ask daddy to put a playground for you?”
I laughed at his reaction. He was looking everywhere, searching for Eric. He sure was his daddy’s boy.
“Daddy will be up later, doodle bug. In the meantime we are going to fill your tummy, play a little then it’ll be naptime and when you’ll wake so will daddy, Uncle Godric and Auntie Jess.”
When we reached the house, the limo-van driver was heading back to his car a huge smile on his face. Seemed my Gran had tipped him quite well for carefully unloading the traveling coffin.
“Well, well, well… Lala didn’t quite believe it when Miss Adele showed up with a baby at Merlotte’s sayin’ it was yours… Little girl you got some ‘splainin’ to do!”
“It’s good to see you too, Lafayette” I say as I make my way to the living room.
I set Hunter on the couch next to Freyja who was licking my boy’s face and went to inspect the coffins. Jessica had had some trouble opening hers once we arrived in Dallas and I wanted to make sure hers wasn’t locked from the outside.
“No, no, no, Missie! You ain’t gettin’ outta of it! Now you tell Lala ‘bout that baby of yours! God! Look at him! Dead ringer for your vamp, no pun intended. But first come and give Lala a hug!”
I smiled and complied graciously. From our first meeting, I felt this connection to Lafayette that I never felt with anybody – not even Eric. Probably a result of both of us being some sort of outcast, him being a flamboyant black gay man in the still bigoted South and me being a telepath.
I turned to my son who didn’t seem quite happy at the sight of Lafayette hugging me.
“Jeez, Sook! He sounds just like Eric!”
“Well Jason, he’s his father’s son…”
Gran, Jason and I were all laughing while Lafayette just stood looking at us and then at Hunter, a shocked look on his face.
“Ain’t he too young to talk? I ain’t an expert on kids, but Arlene’s broods weren’t…”
“He’s just like his Mama” answered Gran. “She was an early talker. And he’s quite smart and clever, like his daddy. Right, Hunter?”
“Daddy is still sleeping, doodle bug. Come on, let’s get your tummy filled with yummy food than you can play with Freyja…”
Once Hunter was seated in his highchair with Cheerios cereal to keep him busy while I prepared his lunch, Gran fed Lafayette the official story of how my son came to our lives. I kept my shields down as I perused the fridge, checking once in a while to see if Lafayette was believing our incredible story about a rent-a-womb and sperm donor. So far he was buying it, as crazy and incredible it was.
“You is a sneaky little liar, Missie! You was sayin’ you and Tall, Blond & Dead was brand new and now this! A baby! You played us well!”
“I wasn’t trying to play anybody… You have to understand that Eric’s job in the vampire hierarchy puts him in constant danger and… We were waiting for the right time to bring him home… We wanted to be settled before…”
“You sure is settle, Missie! Lala nearly fainted when Malibu Vampie brought me here last night! That’s one heck of a house you have here. If I had known how loaded Tall, Blond & Dead was, I would have steal him from you!”
“I’d pay to see you try and fail, Lafayette!” laughed Jason. “Eric is quite pussy wiped by my sister!”
His comment earned him a slap in the back of his head, courtesy of Gran.
“Don’t be vulgar, Jason Corbett Stackhouse! And watch your language, will you! Do I have to remind you of the innocent little ears?”
“Sorry Gran…” sheepishly said my brother, actually looking apologetic for once.
“Now, Lafayette, dear… How about you tell us ‘bout what’s going on back home in Bon Temps?”
He took a deep breath before starting his tale.
“Well, it’all started after Tara got outta jail… I told her I wanted her to stay at my place, I mean you know her mama, Miss Adele, Lettie Mae ain’t the best person in the world… But that cuz of mine said she was stayin’ with that Maryann woman, that social worker who bailed her out.”
I lowered my shields a little. “A social worker… Social worker my ass! Ain’t Tara a little old for that? Shoulda come when she was a little girl, when her mama was beatin’ her…”
I tried hard not to react to his thoughts. I was suddenly hit by memories of my early summer trips to Bon Temps when I was a little girl… How Tara would always look hungry and how she tried to hide the bruises on her arms… I knew Gran had more than once called the Parish’s social services, but apparently her calls had been unanswered.
“Anyway, Tara stayed there for a coupla days then came back to work, went back to her mama’s place, but Lettie Mae she had her come to Jesus you know and started attendin’ church, hangin’ ‘round that Reverend Daniels. She didn’t want Tara’s bad juju or whatever… She went to your place, Miss Adele, but you was gone to Dallas and the house was locked. So Tara ended up at my place. Everythin’ was fine for a day ‘till that Egg guy showed up with that Maryann… That Maryann woman, she took over my house, threw me outta my room as if she was Master of the House. They’s started to throw parties and everythin’… Then Daphne happened.”
“Who’s Daphne?” I asked as I fed Hunter a mix of mash potatoes and chicken.
“She that girl Sam hired as a new waitress… You know since Dawn then Amy… Anyway, Sam ain’t got no luck with new waitresses, ‘cause Daphne ended up in the walk-in freezer without her heart… Them Sheriff Deputies arrested Sam, but since he showed up with Arlene’s kids at your vampire’s bar I guess he got out. That’s when, you know, everythin’ turned crazy in Bon Temps. That Maryann did some Voodoo thin’ or whatever and said she was wantin’ Sam for some sacrifice or somethin’. Anyway I grabbed your little doggie, Miss Adele, and got outta there.”
And with that he let out a deep sigh.
“Is it always this crazy in Bon Temps?” I asked, taking Hunter out of the high chair.
“Louisiana is the land of crazies, Missie, but Bon Temps kinda win the crazy town title. When them vamps came out of the coffin… I mean, that was crazy, but now this Maryann woman bewitchin’ the whole town and wantin’ to sacrifice Sam? Crazy from chez Crazy!”
“But things certainly became crazier since you moved around here, sis” laughed my brother, earning a second slap from Gran.
We spent the rest of the afternoon chatting away, retreating to the living room where they had set the three traveling coffins. Hunter was a bomb of energy, crawling on the floor chasing after Freyja, but soon started to rub his eyes, a tell-tale sign that he was ready for his nap time.
“I’ll take him up to his room and change into something more comfortable…”
“You mind if Lala come with you, Missie?”
“No, of course. Will you grab the diaper bag for me, please?”
We make our way to the nursery and after a quick diaper change I set Hunter in his crib, his Mister Bunny clenched in his arms.
“Come on, you’ve got to see my closet…”
Saying that Lafayette was blown away by my walk-in closet was an understatement. While I was getting dressed in the bathroom, I could hear him curse every once in a while about Fucking Chanel, Fucking Prada, Fucking Gucci and Fucking Versace.
“Don’t let Gran hear you curse like that, Lafayette, or she’ll take out her black soap bar and wash your mouth. She already threatened Pam more than once…”
“Little girl, some of those clothes are worth more than my house!”
“Really?! I’ll be honest with you, I’m not really a clothes person. Apart from my court attire which mainly consists of skirt suit, I’m more a jeans and tee kind of girl. Pam is the fashion victim of the family if you haven’t noticed…”
He took a deep breath before sitting down on the counter in the middle of the walk-in closet.
“Speakin’ of family… You has to know how bad Lala is ‘bout cuttin’ short yours family vacation…”
“Oh, don’t Lafayette! It was more business than pleasure and… It was more than time for us to come back home. And you can’t blame yourself for what is happening in Bon Temps…”
“I ain’t blamin’ myself, I is blamin’ that dimwit cuz of mine! Everythin’ was peachy ‘till she brought that Maryann woman…”
“Peachy, you say? We clearly don’t have the same definition of peachy situation… Do I have to remind you that not so long ago we had a serial killer loaming in Bon Temps?”
He sighed. “Ain’t no need to remind me ‘bout Rene… That’s old news, at least it is for Arlene! She sure was gettin’ all hot and heavy with my man Terry when I got the hell outta Dodge.”
I couldn’t help but laughed.
“But what ‘bout you, Missie? Is yous vamp treatin’ you right? I mean, I can see he covers you in fine thin’, but he good to you? I mean, I heard how them vamps treats their humans…”
“You don’t need to worry, Lafayette… Eric… Eric treats me like I’m the most precious thing in the world. Sometimes his love for me can be suffocating, but in a good way. And sometimes I feel so unworthy of his love… It’s in those moments that I love him the most, I think, when I doubt myself and he reminds me of each single reasons why he loves me and no other… Shit, the way I’m describing him you’ll think he’s a romantic sap…”
“No, he ain’t no sap. Me thinks he’s a scary mothafucker. A scary mothafucker who is in love with you, Missie. You is very lucky, baby girl.”
Yep, I was one lucky girl. I smiled as I felt the familiar twitch in the bond alerting me of Eric’s rising.
“What got you smilin’ like a loon, baby girl?”
“Eric just woke up…”
“What? But… How…”
“It’s our bond” I explained. “We are bonded, we can feel each other and…”
“That ain’t what I is talkin’ ‘bout, Missie! It ain’t even dark outside! ‘Least I think it ain’t dark outside, those blinders thingin’ ain’t helpin’ with tellin’…”
I laughed as I took his arm and walked him out of the room.
“The older the vampire, the earlier they can rise, Lafayette. And Eric and his Maker Godric are quite old, even though Gran likes to call them young men and kids… Come…”
Eric and Godric had already left their traveling coffin as we made our way down the stairs and were waiting in the foyer. I stopped in my track, admiring the work of art that was my bonded even after spending the whole day nearly bended in two in the too small for his giant frame coffin. He quickly vamped to me, encasing me in his arms and claiming my lips with his own.
“I missed you, lover…”
“I missed you too…”
“And how is our son?”
“Napping, but he did miss his far as well. By the way, you’re rubbing off on him. When Lafayette hugged me when we arrived, your son was all ‘Mama mine’!”
“His, you say? I hope he won’t mind if I do this in front of him…”
He proceeded into kissing me once more, one of his large hands cupping the back of my head while the other squeezed my butt. The sound of Godric ‘coughing’ unfortunately burst our bubble.
“Sorry…” I whispered, trying to sound apologetic but failing miserably.
“You ain’t got nothin’ to be sorry for, Missie. If Lala had a hunky man like yours I too would be all over him! Go on, keep playin’ tongue hockey with yous man, I ain’t too shy to introduce myself to that hot little guy.”
I hid my laughter in Eric’s chest as Lafayette, licking his lips, approached Godric, eying him from head to toe.
“Hi, honeybunch, I is Lafayette, but you can call me whatever and whenever you want.”
The look on Godric’s face was priceless! Him who normally was so dignified and stoic looked like a deer caught in the headlight. It was too much and both Eric and I bursted in laughter.